INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Thursday, March 14, 2002

Time Trippin'

Mike Sanders is at it again--posing the Big Questions that cause brain-warp as you try to wrestle with them. He's been addressing a question of real relevance to bloggers--the time issue. I would imagine that all of us who are caught up in the engaging enterprise of blogging struggle with this issue. How do we keep up with all the good blogs? How much do we write about our personal story? How much do we cut corners by just doing links to good stuff we've seen, accompanied by brief comments? Why do we do it the first place? (my reasons are expressed in my first blog post. Jeneane has delved into this extensively in her blog). Do we risk wasting our time or diverting it from more urgent matters?

Mike quotes some of John Hiller's excellent observations on this. Thanks for that, Mike. Anyway, Mike solicits reader's comments to the following:

"Time-economics, what exactly does this mean? Is it how we spend our time - productively, purposefully, meaningfully, wastefully? I have been thinking about the time issue, in terms of both blogging and reading blogs and the articles they point to. Has anybody else thought about how to define time-economics? What is wasted time? How does it fit into the bigger questions of meaning and purpose? How precious a commodity is time?"

I guess I'll take a stab at it, Mike. The key lies in your next-to-last question: "How does it fit into the bigger questions of meaning and purpose?" You ask about the use of the term, "time-economics." Good question. "Economics" is associated with money, and "Money" shares some commonalties with "Time."

Money and Time both have the illusion of being very real. Indeed, about as real as you can get. Money is tangible and measurable. You can use it in an infinite variety of ways. Time is tangible and measurable on the face of every timepiece on the planet. Again, you can use it in an infinite variety of ways.

In actuality, however, time and money are not "real." They are both inventions of man--highly useful--created for the purpose of facilitating human interactions. But they are not Fundamental Entities of the same realm as those that are "really real"--Purpose, Meaning, Experience, Love, Energy, Power, etc. They are representations of those entities. People, for example, often describe the essence of money as Energy or Power or Spiritual-Connection-to-the-Abundance-of-the Universe," whatever. The point being, if you want to address your money situation, first address the fundamental abstractions underlying it.

Using this analogy, suppose we say that that the essence of Time is purpose and meaning, or that time is the representation of purpose and meaning? I remember a popular workshop of the 80's, "The More Time Workshop." Their slogan was, "You can't manage time (because it's not really real), what you manage is experience." The idea was that, instead of looking at time, you looked at the quality of experience that you intended to produce, and let your time-based agenda shape itself around that.

This philosophy is behind Stephen Covey's approach, isn't it? He stresses building out your plan from the foundation of your governing principles. (Correct me if I'm wrong, Mike).

So what's the point? To put it as simply as possible, I guess it's that we should evaluate our blog time in terms of our purpose and meaning and quality of experience and not by the mathematical yardstick of minutes or hours passed.

Truth is, I'm just groping and hypothesizing here. Any comments welcome.


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